The Locals Guide To Big Apple Comedy

Some of the most brilliant American comedians found their footing on the stages of New York’s downtown comedy club scene. From improv comic acts, to traditional stand up, New York’s influential comedy establishments host a constant stream of dynamic and rib tickling talents in today’s comic relief business. With New York Comedy Festival hitting the city this week (Nov 1st – Nov 6th, 2016), we’ve gathered a list of our favorite venues where you’ll be able to find the legends of the industry, and those next in line.

Comedy Cellar

Louis C.K., Ray Romano, Damon Wayans and Wanda Sykes are just a few of the big names in comedy that have passed through this iconic West Village comedy club. Upstairs from the Comedy Cellar is the Olive Tree Cafe & Bar, where patrons stop by for drinks and bites between acts. The Comedy Cellar also offers comedy classes taught by Rick Crom and Veronica Money, who teach students the mechanics of a good joke. 

117 MacDougal;

Gotham Comedy Club

Chris Mazzilli and Michael Reisman opened this downtown comedy club two decades ago, its art deco interiors recall the glitter and grand theatrics of 1920s decorum. The small-time venue had to later expand to accommodate larger crowds who would flock to see acts like Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David and Roseanne. The club’s 

208 West 23rd St.;

Greenwich Village Comedy Club

Up and coming comic talents occasionally open the shows for well established celebrity comedians that pop into this infamous Greenwich Village club for a quick drink and impromptu performance. It’s the sort of comedy club where young comedians breaking out onto New York’s competitive comedy scene come to prove their worth. 

99 MacDougal St.;

UCB East Theater

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater is a comic hive that brings Chicago-style, long form improv to New York City’s comedy club scene. Founded in 1996 by Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh, today the UCB assembles some of the most innovative standup and sketch comedy in the city. With wild success came expansion, and the comedy club opened three additional venires in Los Angeles and New York. 

153 East 3rd St.;

EastVille Comedy Club

Star acts like Amy Schumer and Janeane Garofalo performed at this 150-seat, cozy comedy club in Manhattan’s East Village. And while it continues to be an incubator for some of the city’s most promising comic talents, the club, which also allows patrons under 21 to attend, is also a versatile space that hosts birthday parties, singles nights, comedy classes, holidays events and bachelor and bachelorette parties. 

85 East 4th St.;

The Stand

Gramercy’s comedy lovers gather at The Stand, which offers before and after show dinning and cocktail hours at its tidy two story venue. Shows are seven nights a week, and include a roster of strong, young New York talent like Judah Friedlander and Jessica Kirson. The Stand also host comedy roasts, where comedians battle for the most laughs. 

239 3rd Ave;

Words by Rocky Casale